Wednesday, 1 February 2012


At the start of January, Fantasy Bob celebrated Pilot's song January. For February he celebrates another Scottish contribution to poptastic history, if not quite so distinguished as Pilot's great song. January February was released by Barbara Dickson released on 25 January, 1980 and reached its high point of number 11 in the UK charts in April 1980, spending 10 weeks in the charts in all.

Barbara Ruth Dickson, OBE was born in Dunfermline and started out on the folk scene before breaking into mainstream pop, assisted by a resident slot in the Two Ronnies TV show where she was seen by more than 10 million viewers every week.   She also had some success as an award winning actress including Anita Braithwaite in TV's Band of Gold and l Mrs. Johnstone in Willy Russell's long-running musical Blood Brothers.

An all round performer then. At the time that this record was climbing the charts, cricket saw one of the great all round performances of recent history. England played India in Dehli in February 1980 in a one off Test to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Botham dominated the match which England won by 10 wickets. He took 13 wickets and scored 114 in his only innings. One of 5 times that he had a 5-fer and a century in the same match. No other player nears that achievement.

Botham apart, the match was not considered to be a high quality encounter. England were on their way home from a 3-0 whitewash in Australia and India were knackered after 16 Tests in 7 months. But there were other points of interest. England must have thought they had got home early for the pitch was uncharacteristically grassy and the weather overcast. Just like home. England keeper Bob Taylor established a new world Test record by taking 10 catches in the match, 7 in the first innings. His record was overtaken by Jack Russell's 11 catches against S Africa in 1995. 7 catches in an innings remains the record, shared by Taylor and 3 other keepers.

Taylor also contributed with the bat - his stand of 171 with Botham allowed England to recover from 58 for 5 in their first innings to post a lead of 54. Yet their stand could have been cut short at 85 when umpire Rao upheld an appeal against Taylor for a catch behind off Kapil Dev. Taylor hesitated and Viswanath, the Indian captain, fielding at first slip, said that there had been no contact and persuaded the umpire to rescind his verdict. They had to make their own DRS in those steam-powered days.

England had expected a spinning wicket and played Underwood and Emburey. In the event Underwood bowled only 7 overs and Emburey none at all.   As for the Indians, only one wicket they took went to their spinner Dilip Doshi. Conditions today's England squad would die for when they visit India next winter.


  1. Little known Barbara Dickson fact for you to store away FB. She was a civil servant with the General Register Office for Scotland.

    If she'd stuck at it she could easily now be part of the admin support for the household statistics team with with the prospect of taking an early retirement package instead of wasting away on the international cabaret circuit ....

  2. Yes many thanks - FB was aware that she had turned her back on a glittering career in the world of buff folders. A great loss to Scotland's administrative machine which it is still coming to terms with.